Personal Organization

Almost a year ago, I posted about Getting Things Done, a method of organization and productivity that David Allen (the author) espouses and which has taken society by storm. GTD, as it is better known, has several steps, and it boils down to never letting anything get away from you, except by choice. No more piles of things to-do. No more random stacks of things you’ll take care of sometime. It’s all captured and processed by GTD.

I follow the method, to a degree, and have found it to be very useful in keeping basic life items under control. I find it more difficult to deal with at work, as my engineering projects try to resist some of the basic precepts (i.e. have a very next physical action for every project1). In order to improve my use of the system, and to always have something to write on (if you don’t write it down, it didn’t happen), I’m trying something new.

I tend to carry around several things on a constant basis: wallet, keys, phone. I also carry a few things on a not-so constant basis: camera, hipster PDA, pen, bluetooth earpiece. Then there’s the things I need for doing business or travel, etc.: actual PDA, 8.5″x11″ notepad, stack-O-business cards. I would like to reduce this down to fewer items, with more redundancy. I can’t “condense” my phone any more than it already is, but I’m giving serious thought to purchasing a blackberry or treo and getting my PDA functions into the phone.2 I really only carry around that PDA as my Outlook contacts and task lists. I wouldn’t be upset if this were added to my phone, plus then I would always have all of my contact information with me, and any task lists I’ve made.

That leaves other things to put together, notably the wallet, the pen, the business cards, and the hipster PDA. Here’s a list of what this new device should do:

  • Contain 3×5 cards in a manner described here
  • Contain (and retain without loss) a pen
  • Contain all wallet items
  • Contain extra and various business cards. I will eventually be having cards for my work, my play, and my work/play3. So three sets of cards, at least 5 each
  • Portable by normal pant pocket. This will act as my wallet after all

As listed in the first bullet point, jazzmasterson posted about a moleskine hack that would provide several of these items. I figure if I add clear plastic credit card holders to the inside covers, that will allow me to carry the various things like license, credit cards, health insurance cards, etc. I’m gluing the flap on right now. The credit card holders will come later, first I need to establish that I can use this contraption in an efficient manner.

I’ll keep this space informed as to how things work.

Some Moleskine links I came across. Some amusing, some useful, all are expressed here without warranty
Battlestar Moleskin
Mike Shea’s Comments
43 Folders
Deadly Bloody Serious

1Some of my projects are long-term and complicated so I have difficulty keeping the next action list up to date. There are so many small actions that happen in a serial manner, yet they are relatively short and so far are not captured by the system. I need to work on that.

2When we purchased the phones we have now, I convinced Jenn that we needed to stay away from the big fancy phones and get something that was designed to be a phone first, which the blackberry and treo are not. But, we use our bluetooth earpieces for the majority of our phone time, which makes my argument invalid. She is rubbing that in.

3Work/Play is something that is being developed. It is alluded to in this post. Watch this space for more details.

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